Dear Madam Secretary:
I write on behalf of the many Texas livestock producers who believe they have been severely disadvantaged by the disaster designation requirements of the Livesotck Compensation Program (LPC). Under the rules established by USDA, only producers in eligible drought effected counties that were approved as primary disaster areas; or had a pending request for a Secretarial disaster designation that was subsequently approved by September 19, 2002 are eligible for LCP assistance.
The arbitrary nature of selecting a single cut-off date so close to initial announcement of the program has precluded participation by many producers in counties where the application for disaster designation was not completed before September 19, 2002. In fact, many county Farm Service Agency officials, who were engaged in documenting the drought losses in their counties, were not even aware of the existence of the program until the cut-off date had passed.
This is unfair to both those producers who would have been eligible for assistance had the eligibility requirements been known in advance as well as the local FSA official who are now viewed as having obstructed the livestock producer's ability to avail themselves of a much needed disaster assistance program.
I believe it is only fair and proper that you re-open the Livestock Compensation Program to give all counties that have suffered substantial drought losses the opportunity to be designated as primary disaster areas which would qualify their producers for LCP assistance.
Thank you for your consideration of this issue and ensuring the LCP is operated in a fair and equitable manner for all livestock producers who have suffered significant losses as a result of the serious drought we have experienced over the last two years.
President, Texas Farmers Union
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